By Dave Coulter
When I was a young man I never imagined that I would spend my entire life - up until now anyway - here in the Midwest. I won’t ramble on about the years, but I will say that I am happy with that outcome. And one of the pleasures of living here is enjoying four distinct seasons. Well, usually they’re distinct. Sometimes winter will jump right across spring into summer. I have but one seasonal complaint, and it’s with what I will call the Fifth Season.
We’re in it right now, this transition from winter to spring. It should be a time of anticipation but these flat skies and sodden landscapes leave me antsy, wishing for more. More cold, more color, more anything that awakens my senses. I may be the only one, but I found our recent blizzard and the subsequent cold snap preferable to this balmy slump of muted white, tan and grey.
I find myself focusing lately on any active darkened speck that skitter or sweep across a dome of sky the color of oatmeal. Gangs of starlings, crows, pigeons - along with the odd hawk or falcon - punctuate the drab horizons and cluster upon telephone lines. Even squirrels and chickadees gain visual appeal in this season.
Maybe this is part of the appeal of Valentine’s Day here in the northern hemisphere? Just how can we possibly resist the opportunity to splash our surroundings and tingle our retinas with electric scarlets and cardinal reds? Do our brains hunger for these bursts of color? Not to worry: green Saint Patrick's Day is soon to follow.
I remember when I was a boy a beloved book we had of Andrew Wyeth paintings. I think he is a master, but I was impatient (then) with his pale watercolor landscapes and interiors of Pennsylvania and Maine. I’m impatient (still) with this drab fifth season, and may be until I die. But for now I will train my eyes in search for signs of the next act. These days both the buds and the rivers are swelling, and green shoots can’t be too far behind.